Any member of the clergy uniting with a church or denomination other than the Church of the Nazarene, or other Christian ministry, will cease membership in the Church of the Nazarene unless he or she obtains approval of the District Advisory Board of the assembly district in which he or she holds ministerial membership. The district assembly shall cause to be entered into its minute record the following statement: “Expelled from the membership and ministry of the Church of the Nazarene by uniting with another church, denomination, or ministry.” (107, 112)
Section: General Regulations
Any member of the clergy who withdraws or is expelled from local church membership when he or she is not in good standing may reunite with the Church of the Nazarene only with the consent of the District Advisory Board of the assembly district from which he or she withdrew or was expelled from membership. The District Advisory Board may grant its consent on condition that the former minister shall subsequently remain a lay member of the church or, with the approval of the district superintendent and the general superintendent in jurisdiction, that the former minister be readmitted as a member of the clergy under discipline having affirmed his or her willingness to participate actively and consistently in a recovery process. (539.6)
An elder or deacon whose name has been removed from a district assembly Roster of Ministers and who has not filed his or her credential shall not be recognized in any other district without having secured the written consent of the district assembly from whose Roster of Ministers his or her name was removed, except as otherwise provided. The District Advisory Board may act on a request of transfer of jurisdiction between assemblies. (538.11)
A member of the clergy must have the annual written approval of the District Advisory Board in order to do the following:
- regularly conduct independent church activities not under the direction of the Church of the Nazarene, or
- carry on independent missions or unauthorized church activities, or
- be connected with the operating staff of an independent church or other religious group, Christian ministry, or denomination.
Should a member of the clergy fail to comply with these requirements, he or she may, on recommendation by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the District Ministerial Credentials Board or District Board of Ministry, and by action of the district assembly, be expelled from the membership and ministry of the Church of the Nazarene. The final determination as to whether any specific activity constitutes “an independent mission” or “an unauthorized church activity” shall rest with the Board of General Superintendents. (112–112.1, 532.9)
Prior to granting approval to the member of the clergy to participate in independent church activities, the District Advisory Board must request the written approval of the Board of General Superintendents when such participation is to be on more than one district, or a district other than the district on which the minister holds ministerial membership. The Board of General Superintendents shall notify the respective District Advisory Boards that a request for said approval is pending.
An assigned minister may start a local church when authorized to do so by the district superintendent or the general superintendent having jurisdiction. Official organization reports are to be filed with the General Secretary’s office by the district superintendent. (100, 211.1)
Information disclosed to a minister during the course of counseling, advising, or spiritual direction shall be held in the strictest confidence possible, and shall not be disclosed without the informed consent of the person, except as required by law.
Whenever possible and as soon as possible, the minister should disclose those circumstances under which confidentiality may be breached:
- When there is the clear and present threat of harm to self or others.
- When there is the suspicion of abuse or neglect perpetrated on a minor, disabled person, elderly person, or other vulnerable person as defined by local law. It is not the responsibility of the reporter to ascertain the veracity of the report or to investigate the context of the report, but only to report suspicion to the appropriate authorities. A minor is defined as any human being under the age of 18, unless the age of majority is attained later under a state’s or country’s own domestic legislation.
- In legal cases when under court order to provide evidence. Ministers should keep secure minimal records of the content of sessions, including a record of the disclosures given and the informed consent received.
Knowledge that arises from professional contact may be used in teaching, writing, homilies, or other public presentations only when measures are taken to absolutely safeguard both the individual’s identity and the confidentiality of the disclosures.
While counseling a minor, if a minister discovers there is a serious threat to the welfare of the minor and that communication of confidential information to a parent or legal guardian is essential to the minor’s health and well-being, the minister should disclose information necessary to protect the health and well-being of the minor.
All elders and deacons are expected to be involved in 20 hours of lifelong learning per year, to be administered by the District Ministerial Studies Board. (529.6)